Sayulita Life

We’ve very easily slipped into a routine here in Sayulita. In the morning, still in pajamas, we wander out to the beach where the kids play and explore before breakfast. After eating we walk around town a bit, ride bikes, and hang out at the playground. Home for the kids’ lunch, and then a walk to town and the south end of the beach where the waves are perfect for beginners. After a few hours on the beach all we need to decide is where to stop and eat on our walk back to the bus. Shower, read, sleep. It’s a full day—and intoxicatingly perfect.

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The kids saw this hill and immediately asked if they could ride their bikes down it. If they’d gone to the top they would have reached 120 m.p.h. by the bottom, so I reigned them in a bit, but not too much.

Right next door we then discovered a BMX track. I thought it would be perfect for them, so I set them free. In less than a minute they had both crashed and cried—separately.

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Coming down the hill they both were extremely focused, which is good because they were bouncing around wildly. At the bottom Lowe would lock up that back brake then spin his head around to see his long black skid mark. In that instant I could see myself in him. I loved those black skid marks. My dad used to get so pissed when I’d inevitably wear a hole straight through the rubber tire. Another twenty bucks down the drain. But to a kid’s thinking that twenty bucks was well spent awesomeness.

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Lowe isn’t quite ready to get on the board, which is surprising because he spends his entire time in the water bum rushing the waves. He’s completely waterlogged by the time he finally says he’s done.


I’m sorry, but there is nothing more adorable than a tiny five-year-old riding a wave. And oh my god, when she hops on the board and starts paddling out—she slays me.

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Reconsidering Sayulita

We spent a day hanging out in Punta Mita with my mom. That’s always a fun little spot to spend an afternoon. Lots of beachfront restaurants, small waves, boats at anchor, and the mountains as a backdrop to it all. Our days spent there never disappoint.


The day Grammy left we moved the bus over to Sayulita. The campground here is right on the beach a three block walk to town. It’s kind of amazing that the place exists at all. We’re fifty feet from pristine beach with a big surf break right out front for thirty bucks a night—high by RV park standards, but a steal when you consider the location.

I may have jumped the gun on Sayulita. While it is certainly way more crowded—like, double or triple what it was just two years ago—it is still a lot of fun. There is such a good mix of people here—cool friendly locals, hippies, surf chasers, gringo families on vacation but with a touch of adventure in them, a few older retirees (but not so many that they’ve overrun the place), and lots of families like our own that are just sort of living on the fringe for now, trying to enjoy life. Overall, the place has won me over once again. Somehow it always seems to do that.

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Ouest is killing it out in the surf. Today she told me, “Papa, when I grow up I don’t want to be in the Army any more, I want to be a surfer.” Please don’t ask me why she wanted to be in the Army in the first place, just focus on the fact that she’s moved squarely into the realm of Bumfuzzle beach bum.

She really is doing great. Today she had eight or ten rides that carried her a good fifty yards or more. And she soaks up any instruction I give her, immediately correcting on her next wave, and doing that much better. Watching her jump up, super stoked, with a huge smile on her face, is one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced.

We have yet to get a good picture since we don’t bring the good camera to the beach on surf days. It’s just too much to leave laying around while we’re all out splashing around in the water.

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Washed out, but still hungry. Carnitas tacos, burritos, and a mani-mahi burrito coming up.


Tiny delicious plums.




A co-founder of Cirque du Soleil lives here in San Pancho and took it upon himself to do something pretty amazing—he started up a circus for the local kids. By that I mean that he started a school to teach kids how to do all of the incredible stunts that they do in Cirque. This all started about four years ago—there are about 70 kids in the school—and we happened to be here for the annual fundraising show, Circo de los Ninos.

Ouest was on the edge of her seat watching the kids perform. Everything from trampoline flips, to trapeze, to jump roping. Lowe was getting into it to. When a boy started riding a bike around in circles while four or five girls climbed on top of him Lowe asked, “Can I ride my bike when we get back to the bus?”

Besides the circus we’ve been spending our days bouncing around from town to town. We spent another day in Sayulita which, while still busy, had a much more chill vibe to it than the week before. The town certainly still has its appeal.

If you see this guy barreling towards you on a mountain road say a quick prayer.

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A sweet little concrete halfpipe. Fun even without the board along.

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The north end of San Pancho’s beach.

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That point on the right is the south end of Sayulita—the point in the middle is the only thing separating San Pancho (officially known as San Francisco) and Sayulita.

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Hermit crabs—endlessly fascinating.

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Circo de los niños.

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Even my mom isn’t immune to my “Boomers with their tiny dogs” jokes.

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The Sayulita beach is packed, but for kids, the shallow sandy water is too perfect to care.


New apron/dress up clothes, compliments of Grammy.



San Pancho

Grammy made it to town with dog in tow. We all hung out in San Pancho (San Francisco) today. The town is only five miles up the road from Sayulita, but is another world entirely. It’s pretty plain to see that once Sayulita is completely overrun it will spread out and gobble up San Pancho. The locals and the land developers have long been preparing for it. But for now it is a perfect little spot. The town is basically one main street running from the highway for about a mile until it dead ends at the beach. Along the way are a dozen pretty good looking restaurants, a surf shop, fruit stand, small grocery, and anything else you can think of that a small Mexican beachside village should have. And on the beach, instead of hundreds upon hundreds of gringos, there were a dozen or two.


Killing some time before my mom’s arrival we decided to pop in to the marina at Nuevo Vallarta. There we found almost all of the same boats sitting right where we left them. Strolling a marina does not give us any tinge of longing just yet, that much was clear. I’ll tell you something else in all honesty—I really can’t even entertain the idea of ever owning a monohull again. Just looking at them I cringe a little bit. Why? Because of the cluttered mess that they all become. Look at those cockpits and bowsprits below—could those boats be any less pleasant aesthetically?

All right, that might not be the only reason why.


What? If I could buy superhero underwear at Target that is all I would wear around town too.


Either Ouest is getting taller, or Grammy is getting shorter. Or some combination of the two.

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Our Towns

My mom was supposed to arrive for a visit yesterday, but while at the airport she found out her passport was expired. No go. After I got her message Ali said to me, “We went with her when she got her passport renewed right before Ouest was born. How can it be expired?” When I talked to my mom later I mentioned that, which got her to thinking. She went back to wherever it is she keeps her passport, and lo and behold, she had grabbed her old expired passport, while her new one sat right there next to it. Doh! Don’t ask me how everyone failed to notice the hole punched right through the old one.

She arrives in two more days.

We went over to Sayulita today, just a few minutes down the road from Lo de Marcos, where we are staying with the bus at the moment. Wow, has Sayulita exploded. The beach reminded us of a European beach with hundreds of umbrellas and chairs stacked nearly on top of one another. In the water were hundreds of swimmers competing for space amongst dozens of beginner surfers. It was crazy, and for the first time in probably a dozen visits there, I felt uncomfortable. The chaos was a bit much. Sayulita may have finally become a place we used to visit.

While we were there it started to rain. Rain in March? Weird. I was swimming with the kids at the time and when the raindrops started hitting the surface of the ocean they both exclaimed, “Pretty!” They thought it was pretty cool to be out there swimming while the sky was dropping everything it had on us. It was one of those moments that you have now and then with kids where I got to see the world through their eyes. The rain on the water was something beautiful that would have otherwise escaped my notice, because it is nothing new to me. It’s only made new again by seeing it with my kids.

Ali was up on the beach scrambling to keep our stuff dry underneath the umbrella, so the beauty may have escaped her.

Anyway, it’s been a weird week. We were expecting my mom, so we sort of boogied down to Puerto Vallarta to pick up a rental car (I got a mid-size for under $3 per day!) then went back up to San Francisco (San Pancho) to check into the house she rented. The road to the house turned out to be too steep for even our rental car without a running start, so obviously the bus wasn’t going to make it up. We had planned to just sleep in the bus in the driveway of the house, but with that option out we had to move to Lo de Marcos just down the road. So currently we’re staying in the bus in Lo de Marcos, driving to an empty rental house in San Pancho to catch up on laundry, and hanging out everywhere from Puerto Vallarta, to Sayulita, to San Pancho, to Lo de Marcos. On top of that we’ve got different friends in just about every town who just happen to be here at the same time. Weird week. Grammy should roll in soon and calm things down a bit.

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Mexican rule of the road number one: Never stop in the highway to make a left turn—pull off to the right and wait for both sides to clear.


Lo de Marcos — a couple days in an RV park with a water slide. Pretty much awesome as far as these two are concerned. Pretty quiet little town.

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Puerto Vallarta.

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San Pancho.



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And all over the place.

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